Finding God in all things
It is impossible to have such a strong love and commitment to the Incarnation, and not to seek God incarnate in his creation. Ignatian spirituality calls us to encounter God in all things, and to help with this, we need above all to take time for prayerful reflection on our daily lives. This enables us to grow in sensitivity to the ways in which God touches and inspires us, and be in tune with God’s work in us and the world around us. ‘The Review of the Day’ is, for Ignatius, the most important prayer of the day. It is essentially a prayer of looking back, trying to see where God has been working and moving in my life. It is most effective when practised regularly and takes about 15 minutes—many people use it at the end of the day.
The elements of this prayer are as follows:
1) Slow down and consciously put yourself in the presence of God who has created all things.
2) In your own words, ask God to show you how he has moved in your life today.
3) Look slowly through the day, starting from the time you woke up. Picture the places, the people, your actions, thoughts, words… noticing what feelings arise for you, remembering that God can work through our deepest feelings.
What are you grateful for today?
Where have you been aware of God’s work today?
How have you responded – how do you feel called to respond?
What needs attention?
4) Give thanks for the time when you have responded well… and then ask God to shed his love and light on whatever needs forgiveness and healing.
5) Look forward to tomorrow with hope. What are your desires for tomorrow, for others and for yourself? Are there any decisions you need to make for tomorrow?
Using this prayer regularly helps us to recognise the desires of our hearts and to align them with God’s desires for us and our world. Ignatian Spirituality calls us to be ‘Contemplatives in Action’ – called to find solitude with God not in the monastery, but in the interior ‘cell’ within, while engaging deeply in the world. In one of his many letters, Ignatius shares his thoughts on prayer for those called to this way of life:
‘They can exercise themselves in seeking the presence of God in all things, as for example in conversing with someone, in walking, looking, tasting, hearing, understanding, and in all that they do, since it is true that his Divine Majesty is in all things… and this manner of meditating, by finding God our Lord in all things, is much easier than raising oneself to divine things that are more abstract and which require more effort to make them present to ourselves.’
(Letter to Antonio Branado, 1551)